OM traces its roots to the prayers of an American housewife. In the 1950s, Dorothea Clapp began to pray faithfully for the students in her local high school. She asked God to touch the world through the lives of the young people. And God answered her prayers.
Mrs. Clapp's son gave the Gospel of John to one of the students, who later gave his life to the Lord at a Billy Graham meeting. That young man was George Verwer, the founder and International Director of Operation Mobilisation.
At college, George and two friends met regularly to pray. They became burdened by the spiritual needs of Mexico. In 1957 the three friends sold some of their possessions to raise money and gave up their summer holiday to distribute Gospels and other Christian literature in Mexico. The friends returned to Mexico the following summer and the next.
When they graduated in 1960, George and his friends traveled to Europe. They began work in Spain, sharing the Gospel and distributing literature. But the task of reaching the whole of Europe seemed overwhelming.
George and his small team realised that God's plan was to mobilise His Church to reach the nations. As they began to share their vision, hundreds of Christians responded. So Operation Mobilisation was born.
By 1963, 2,000 Christians had joined summer outreach teams in Europe. At the same time, teams moved into the Indian sub-continent and the Muslim world. Their commitment was to reach those who had never heard the Gospel.
Such simple beginnings have shaped OM since. Today over 3,300 workers in OM's family of ministries, representing over 100 nationalities, are bringing God's unchanging truth to literally millions every year.
OM in Sweden
OM Sweden started in 1970. A few young Swedes returned home from mission trips where they had been encouraged to start an office in Sweden. OM Sweden was born in a woodshed in Smålandsstenar, a small town in the Central South. The staff worked without salary and lived like one family with common finance. Eventually the woodshed became too small and in 1986 the office moved 80 kilometers North to a suburb called Råslätt, just outside Jönköping, where it is still located.
About 60 Swedish workers serve with OM today, short-term and long-term. The office is situated on the ground floor in three combined apartments of a residence block. Altogether about 30 persons, full time and part time, Swedish and International - all volunteers, work here. The closeness to the community has opened up opportunities for many different ministries in the highly multicultural area, reaching out to groups such as youth and immigrant women.